Alberta premier Jason Kenney declared a public health state of emergency Tuesday and sweeping new measures as COVID-19 cases in the province continue to rise.  (photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)

Kenney calls on Trudeau to release antibody test kits, clarifies rules on outdoor gatherings

With the new provincial measures in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 this week, confusion has followed in some facets of daily life for Albertans.

A favourite pastime for many across the province is skating on outdoor rinks and in a Facebook live video, Premier Jason Kenney confirmed that’s still allowed to happen.

The premier said that there is a distinct difference between an “outdoor social gathering” and “outdoor recreation activities.”

An outdoor social gathering involves coordinating a group get together with people outside your household. Those are no longer permitted under the new guidelines. Previously, the government was allowing outdoor social gatherings of up to 10 people.

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Outdoor recreation activities like skating, sledding or a walk in the park, are allowed under the new measures.

“If you go out for a walk and pass your neighbours or friends and you say how are you doing, nice to see you, that is not a social gathering. It is a spontaneous exchange,” he said.

“If you call up your 10 best buddies and say let’s get together in the backyard for a firepit and some beers, that is a social gathering. I hope that people see the difference.”

In the recent live video, Kenney also addressed COVID-19 antibody test kits, something he says he has been calling on the federal government to release since April.

Alberta has been using Polymerase Chain Reaction tests to detect COVID-19, which is typically administered as a nasal swap. The antibody test is a blood test that detects antibodies to the virus. The results can show whether an individual had a recent or prior COVID-19 infection.

“I have been calling on the feds to release rapid antibody test kits since April. Those tests have proven not to be nearly as accurate as PCR for assessing people who are symptomatic,” he said.

“For those antibody tests, I think they can be an additional tool and we hope that gets approved very quickly.”



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